Did you know that …

about 150 million chocolate Santa Clauses are produced in Germany every year for the whole world? And that most of them are wrapped in aluminum?

Every year, numerous Santa Clauses are made of chocolate in Germany and exported all over the world. In order to protect them, many of those are wrapped in aluminum. The packaging prevents components of the printing ink and other substances from getting to the inside. It also protects the chocolate from light and thus, ensures its quality.

The first chocolate Santa Clauses are said to have been made around 1820. Back then, confectioners made them from solid chocolate. The well-known hollow form was only developed about 20 years later and is still the most common form.

Even today, the production of the chocolate Santa Claus is still an extensive process. Approximately 24 hours are needed to produce a single one including the packaging. The aluminum foil has established itself as “clothing”. Besides its protective properties, it is stiff and adapts perfectly to the contours of the chocolate. In addition, aluminum is one of the most sustainable metals on earth because it can be recycled without loss of quality – and with only 5% of the energy originally used.

Approximately 75% of the aluminum ever produced is still in circulation today and the chocolate Santa Claus also contributes to this. After recycling, the aluminum clothing can even become extruded profiles or aluminum bus flaps.

New shareholder structure for the apt Group

The Chinese Inner Mongolia Mengtai Group Co., Ltd. has acquired 100% of the shares in the apt Group, which is headquartered in Monheim am Rhein, Germany. The Mengtai Group from Ordos is one of the ten largest privately owned companies in Inner Mongolia and is active in the fields of coal, electricity and district heating as well as in the aluminium production. The company shares were acquired in June 2020 from the previous majority owner and two other shareholders. The parties have agreed not to disclose the terms of the transaction. The apt Group will continue to be managed by the existing management.

AO Fengting, founder and president of the Mengtai Group, says: “The acquisition of the apt Group enables us to further expand the expertise in aluminium processing for our growing group of companies. We want to strengthen the apt Group in Europe and closely support both the existing management as well as the workforce on their growth course.”

Thomas Boddenberg, CEO of the apt Group, adds: “The management team of apt Group is pleased that with Mengtai Group a new shareholder has been found, who will support the long-term national and international development of apt Group in the core segments of aluminum extrusion and fabrication into ready-to-install components; and who also wants to open new doors for us, particularly in the Chinese market. At the same time, we remain one of the largest independent manufacturers in Europe and intend to play an active role in the future market consolidation.”

The previous shareholder, Frans Kurvers, who played a key role in the development of the apt Group for more than 20 years, will continue to contribute his experience and expertise as a member of the advisory board.

The apt Group is one of the leading companies in the European aluminium industry. It manufactures, processes and sells aluminium profiles and products for the construction, transport, automotive and industry sectors. With its four production sites, the group is divided into the divisions apt Extrusions and apt Products. It covers the entire value chain – from development, recycling, extrusion, fabrication, surface finishing (anodising and powder coating) to assembly and logistics. With around 1,000 employees, the group generates revenues of about 250 million euros.

The Mengtai Group is a privately owned group of companies headquartered in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China, which has approximately 5,000 employees and achieved sales of approximately two billion euros in 2019. The group was founded in 2001 by AO Fengting and is now one of the ten largest privately owned companies in Inner Mongolia. In recent years, the AO family has driven the development of the conglomerate into a diversified group with a downstream focus on the Chinese market. Today, Mengtai is a group of companies operating in the fields of coal, electricity and district heating as well as in the production of aluminium.

 

AO Fengting, Founder and President of Mengtai Group

 

Thomas Boddenberg, CEO apt Group

 

Locations apt Group in Germany, the Netherlands, Czech Republic

 

Headquarters of Mengtai Group in Ordos, China

 

New CNC Machining Centre for apt Extrusions B.V.

The apt Group continues to invest in state-of-the-art technology and adds a machining centre to its production plant in Roermond (NL). In this way, aluminium profiles can be further processed by milling, drilling and sawing them to customer specifications on site.

At the beginning of 2020, apt Extrusions B.V. put a new Computer Numerical Control (CNC) fabrication centre into operation in Roermond, the Netherlands. On-site extruded aluminium profiles – either mill finished or in an anodized version – are further processed according to customer specifications by computer-controlled programs in a consistent, reproducible quality.

First of all, profiles with a maximum cross-section of 200 x 150 mm pass the milling unit behind the automatic feeder. It consists of four milling motors, which are mounted on a turntable and can rotate around an axis of 360°. The motors are controlled separately so that they can mill out any desired shape independently of each other. If necessary, they can also drill holes and special threaded holes. Behind the milling unit there is a saw module that cuts the profiles to the desired length. A variable cut angle between 45° negative up to 45° positive can be achieved. “The finished profile can have a length of up to four meters,” says Alex Verbeek, Process Engineer apt Extrusions B.V. “An extension to up to five meters is possible upon customer request.” The finished profiles are automatically transferred to the unloading table. After a quality control the profiles can then be prepared for logistics.

“We have successfully expanded our customer offering by investing in the machining centre,” reports Astrid Kurvers, Sales Manager apt Extrusions B.V. “The clear advantage is that our customers now receive their finished aluminium product from a single source – we transport the profile directly from our extrusion press or anodising line to the machining centre. This leads to shorter delivery times, a contact person for the customer and a quality control for the final aluminium component”.

apt Extrusions B.V. celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. Since its foundation, the company continually developed. Most recently, investments were made at the site in its fabrication competence. In 2017, a modern MPS saw was acquired and in 2018 a spindle saw was purchased to supplement the existing sawing systems. Those are characterised by achieving very tight production tolerances.

A peek behind the scenes of apt Extrusiosn B.V.

In Roermond, the Netherlands, extruded aluminium profiles are manufactured in a semi-machined and surface-treated form on a production area of 21,500 m². In this way, partly processed aluminium profiles are produced for the construction, automotive and industry sector in several process steps.

Take a look behind the scenes of apt Extrusions B.V. in the following video:

apt Extrusions B.V. turns 50

Exactly on the 22nd of October, 1969, the former Euramax Extrusions was founded in Mijnheerkens (NL)  – reason enough to look back at the eventful history of the company:

The company belonged to the European branch of the American Alumax Inc., which was then managed by the joint venture between Amax and Mitsui in 1974. The name Euramax is a combination of “Europe” and “Amax”.

At that time, the Euramax extrusion companies were organisationally part of Kawneer Inc., which combined extrusion and anodising plants. In addition, Kawneer already had an organisational structure in Europe, so that the Roermond site was selected for the first Euramax plant.

In the mid-1980s the company planned a new office building and a factory in the new Roerstreek industrial area. In 1986 Euramax moved into the new premises and developed into a renowned supplier of extruded mill-finished, anodised and coated aluminium profiles. These are mainly used in construction- and building products (architectural systems, shower cubicles, sun protection).

In 1994 Alumax decided to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. The name was changed to Alumax Extrusions B.V. In 1998 Alcoa takes over Alumax worldwide. From then on, the Roermond-based company was called Alcoa Roermond Extrusions and operating with the official name Alcoa Nederland B.V.

In the following years, Alcoa let go of several locations. In this way, the Roermond site found its way to apt: via the former sales manager, deputy managing director and later European president of Alumax, Frans Kurvers. He joined apt in 1999 as a shareholder and managing director.

On the 1st of April 2004 at 6 o clock a.m., Frans Kurvers held the keys for the production plant in his hands. All employees were solemnly involved in the renaming to apt Kurvers B.V. Since then, investments have been made in the location. In 2005 the office wing was rebuilt and completely renovated. In the same year, a cooling system was installed for the anodising plant. In 2006 the P27 extrusion press was launched, and in 2007/early 2008 the state of the art P25 press was inaugurated.

The name was changed again in 2017 to apt Extrusions B.V.

In the recent past, apt Extrusions B.V. has continued to invest heavily to increase its business. An MPS saw was purchased in 2017 and a spindle saw in 2018. A processing machine will be installed in November of this year and further investments are planned for the future.

When apt took over the company in 2004, the plant in Roermond produced 11,000 tonnes of extruded aluminium profiles every year. This capacity has since been increased many times over. apt Extrusions B.V.’s customers include renowned companies from the automotive, construction and industrial sectors in Benelux, Germany, Scandinavia and Great Britain. With the vision Essential parts. Essential partners. and the planned further growth, the company sees itself excellently positioned for the future.

 

apt unternehmensgebäude

apt Extrusions in Monheim (D) opens its doors

The Long Night of the Industry (orig. Lange Nacht der Industrie) has enjoyed an increased popularity since its start nine years ago. In 2019, apt Extrusions GmbH & Co. KG in Monheim (D) will repeatedly participate. On September 19th, the company is opening its doors for interested visitors for the fifth time. “During the previous times, we have had many interesting conversations with visitors. We are therefore delighted to participate this year again.” says Thomas Boddenberg, Managing Director of apt Extrusions GmbH & Co. KG.

After a short company presentation, visitors will be equipped with safety glasses and ear protectors. Followed by a factory tour, guests will get to know the whole production process, from raw material to processing and finishing of aluminium profiles. Visitors will experience firsthand how exciting and responsible working in a production plant is and how modern and innovative production processes are.

Are you interested in participating? Registrations are open via the following website www.langenachtderindustrie.de/regionen/rhein-ruhr/

blau gelbe maschinen

apt: Latest Technology for Highest Quality Requirements

Bernd Schäfer, CEO of apt Group, was interviewed in the current edition of the Aluminium-Praxis, published on 03 August 2018. The magazine reports about the strategic direction of the company.

Please find the complete German interview with the title “apt: Latest Technology for Highest Quality Requirements” here (pdf).

gelbe maschine

apt Group Invests in Most Modern Extrusion Technology

With a yearly production capacity of 80.000 tons apt Group belongs to the leading European aluminium profile manufacturers. The competence of apt‘s extrusion division with production facilities in Monheim am Rhein (D) and in Roermond (NL) are complemented by its products division with two state-of-the-art fabrication centres in Eckental (D) and Cheb (CZ) where further processing activities for customers from the automotive, commercial vehicle and industry sector are located.
Within apt’s extrusion plant in Monheim the former 2,000 tons (20 MN)-press was replaced with a new modern front-loading press of SMS, which has an extrusion force of 27 MN. Additionally, the billet furnace was renewed. Furthermore, new automatic sawing lines were installed at both extrusion facilities.

“Despite a challenging investment environment in Germany and the Netherlands, which is mainly caused by high energy- and personnel costs, apt has repeatedly proven to maintain its competitiveness by investing in most modern technologies. In this way, the future of these locations is sustainably secured.”, explains Bernd Schäfer, CEO of the group.

With 27 MN extrusion force, the new press is bigger than the previous one and meets market requirements. In order to use the efficiency of the press in the best possible way, billet diameters were adjusted accordingly. Thanks to the configuration of the new 27 MN press and its parameters, further synergy and backup potential has been generated between the two extrusion plants in Monheim and Roermond.

In the context of the investment into the P27, apt installed for the first time a billet heating in conjunction with an induction furnace. Another novelty is the hot-sawing process of the billets. In essence the advantages of the new press can be identified in the combination of inline-furnace, front-loading press, extreme cooling system and flying cutting:

The furnace stands out with an exact temperature control. This results in a consistent product quality. Since billets are cut, the system is significantly less sensitive to failures. The material data can be traced precisely. Further, the block magazine results in a more efficient logistic process. Up to 150 bars can be stored near the press and are automatically fed into the process.

The new press also provides substantial advantages: The linear guidance of punch and recipient results in further improved process reliability. Shortest auxiliary process times are achieved by the instalment of very fast hydraulics. The new press operates with an ecodraulic system, an intelligent start/stop automatic to shut down unused hydraulic pumps. The block diameter was increased to 215 mm, leading to higher efficiency in logistics and procurement.

The extruded profiles receive better mechanical properties thanks to an extreme cooling system. This system ensures an optimized cooling process for asymmetrical cross-sections and greater tolerances for demanding alloys. Flying cutting causes a reduction in auxiliary process times and in process scrap.

„Altogether, the investment into the new press leads to energy savings and a significant increase in productivity, process reliability, and quality. Furthermore, the additional investments in sawing competences at the Monheim and Roermond location are an additional step towards optimized workflows. Our employees benefit from ergonomic working conditions at highest possible safety levels.”, emphasizes Bernd Schäfer.

The 2017 installed automatic saw in Monheim has a feeder-magazine where raw lengths are placed in packages. The profile package is gripped by a clamping unit and then pushed through the saw. The feed drive is generated through a highly dynamic linear drive. In this way, profiles are placed precisely, resulting in a higher throughput rate. Due to short change times, the machinery is highly flexible and produces lengths between 10 mm and 3,500 mm.

The newly installed automatic saw at apt Extrusions B.V. in Roermond is characterized by extremely tight tolerances. This machine has been designed to fit the specific needs of apt in Roermond. It fulfills current market requirements and complements the existing line up. Many customer orders from the commercial vehicle sector are already produced with this saw. The very tight tolerances that can be achieved are also interesting for other industries and new customers.

apt Group is divided into its business units aluminium extrusion and fabrication. About 1,000 employees generate yearly revenues of approximately 250 million Euros. apt belongs to the market leaders in the west-European aluminium industry with six extrusion lines, state of the art fabrication, and three anodizing plants. Renowned customers from the building, transportation, and industry sector are supplied. The product portfolio includes complex aluminium profiles, which are partly postprocessed and refined, as well as aluminium products and systems.